Patient care comes first for McKesson’s 2016 Pharmacy of the Year winners


McKesson recognized some outstanding community pharmacies at this year's IdeaShare.

Three years ago, Josh Borer, PharmD, left McKesson’s ideaShare meeting with a new goal: winning a CMS Five Star Quality Rating for his pharmacy. “I realized that this is how pharmacy will be measured - not by the number of prescriptions we fill, but by how much we improve patient outcomes and how much we save on the total healthcare spend,” said Borer, who bought Rex Pharmacy, a Health Mart pharmacy, in Atlantic, Iowa, with a partner in 2011. “Better outcomes were something everyone on our staff could get behind.”

And get behind them they did. After an overhaul that included new medication synchronization, adherence packaging, and care-transition programs, this year Rex Pharmacy did more than just earn five stars. It’s in the top 20% nationally on every CMS quality measure.

Now wholly owned by Borer, Rex Pharmacy was also named 2016 Pharmacy of the Year Grand Prize Winner by McKesson Corporation at this year’s ideaShare in Chicago.

Virtuous circle

Still, Rex’s transition was tough. It meant redesigning everyone’s job. It meant tearing out the front end, which had housed an electronics store, to make room for patient counseling.

Targeting high-risk patients, Rex’s med-sync program raised quality scores quickly, Borer said. “Moving the needle really motivated the staff to do more.” The program has enrolled 415 patients representing about 45% of prescription volume, and it’s growing.

Borer sees patient service as the key for keeping community pharmacies viable. “If we can collaborate and work on outcomes, we can show the true value community pharmacy adds.”


Provider collaboration

Starting med sync three years ago was an eye-opener for Chris Cornelison, RPh, owner of Iuka Discount Drug in Iuka, Miss., a Regional Pharmacy of the Year winner. “I never realized how many patients I had who weren’t adherent.”

Now, when Cornelison finds someone not taking blood-pressure meds or even insulin, he dives in and addresses the side effects, cost, or whatever the problem may be, and makes changes with the patient’s doctor. About 20% of his patients, accounting for about 40% of volume, are enrolled.

Iuka’s quality scores have improved, as have meaningful use metrics for his physician partners. “The doctors are resistant until they see their meaningful use scores go up and their phone calls go down. Then they start referring patients,” said Cornelison.

Hal Roe, owner of Regional Pharmacy of the Year winner Mountain View Pharmacy in Pleasant View, Utah, offers Provider Lunch and Learn programs to build collaboration in his med-sync and other patient-adherence programs, in addition to programs on compounding and compliance packaging. He also makes great use of online tech, including social media and a mobile app for refills at his five stores.

The personal touch

Surrounded by the big chains and dreaded Walmart, Regional Pharmacy of the Year winner Family Health Mart in Hampstead, Md., stands out because of its personal service and deep community roots, said owner Eric J. Yospa, PD. “I know a lot of our patients by name and they’ve known me since I was a little kid, some of them, so they’re comfortable talking to me about personal matters. I make an effort to reach out to everyone.”

Yospa is formalizing his outreach with a med-sync plan. “It makes it easier for patients and it’s not too hard to get started. I already have some people in mind to start. We’re pretty excited about it.”


Family Health Mart also offers non-sterile compounding, diabetic shoe-fitting, and long-term-care services, including medication administration regimen reporting. “We are really well rounded,” Yospa said.

The Pharmacy of the Year award recognizes independent pharmacies that are driving success through superior patient care, said Steve Courtman, president of McKesson’s Health Mart. “These are the kinds of tools community pharmacies need to deliver value-based patient care.”

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